Monday, September 28, 2009

Who Did What?

"There were no Holy Places in Palestine to which the Jews laid actual physical claims - except perhaps Rachel's tomb, which was at no time a matter of controversy. The Wailing Wall we did not own, and never had owned since the destruction of the Temple." (Chaim Weizmann, Autobiography, 1949, p 355)

"On the third day of the [1967] war, Israeli paratroopers freed the Old City of Jerusalem. Among the paratroopers fighting for the Old City were students of Rabbi Kook... In charge of one of the groups of soldiers who freed the Kotel was Yoram Zamoosh... He immediately sent an army vehicle to the homes of Rav Kook and Rabbi David HaCohen to bring them to the Kotel. Rav Yisrael Ariel, one of Rav Kook's close students and a paratrooper, was assigned by his commander to guard over the Mosque of Omar. He has recounted that he waited by the Mosque, thinking mistakenly that the Army was going to bring explosives to blow up the Mosque. The Redemption is coming, he thought. The redemption is indeed coming, but as the Talmud states, little by little. Rabbi Kook was able to cry and dance at the Kotel, but the Temple Mount wasn't to really come back to our hands. Even though Judea and Samaria were recaptured, they were not psychologically freed. People all over the world, including Jews and Arabs, were waiting for us to destroy the Mosque of Omar on top of the Mount." (Era Rapaport, Letters from Tel Mond Prison: An Israeli Settler Defends His Act of Terror, 1996, pp 63-64)

Here's how your ABC News reported the latest Israeli provocation at Jerusalem's Haram ash-Sharif on Radio National this morning:

"At least a dozen Israeli police have been injured in violent clashes with Palestinians inside Jerusalem's Old City. The riot began as Palestinians began throwing stones at Jewish worshippers. The clashes coincided with the holiest day on the Jewish calendar - Yom Kippur - when crowds of worshippers were at the Temple Mount, the holiest site for Jews, which also houses the Al-Aqsa mosque. Police used stun grenades to disperse a crowd of about 150 Palestinians. At least 12 police were injured, and 11 of the rioters arrested." (Palestinians, police clash at Jerusalem holy site, By Middle East Correspondent Anne Barker, 28/9/09)

And here, presumably, is what the listener picks up:

Palestinians always initiate violent clashes with Israelis. They're always throwing stones (or firing rockets or running amok or exploding themselves) for no apparent reason. That's just what they do. Apparently, listeners do not need to know that they are doing this in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem and so Middle East Correspondent Barker doesn't bother telling them. Moreover, the 'victims' of these stone throwers are one and all innocent Jewish worshippers, quietly doing their religious duty on the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. And, what's more, they're doing it at a holy site known as the Temple Mount, which just so happens is also the site of something called the Al-Aqsa Mosque. That the so-called Temple Mount has, since the 7th century AD, been known by its Arabic name of Haram ash-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) is apparently neither here nor there for Ms Barker. But that was then. This is now. It seems that the Haram ash-Sharif compound (site of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock), Islam's third holiest site, must now be rebadged, in classic Ziobabble, as the Temple Mount. And notice that, although Israeli police use high-tech stun grenades*, it's Palestinian stones (thrown not by defenders of Islam's third holiest shrine, but by rioters) that are singled out and render the 'clash' violent.

It goes without saying that the Palestinian Ma'an News Agency's reference to a "group of settlers [who] reportedly entered the Old City compound under the watch of Israeli forces," could not be allowed to sully Barker's script. [*Designed to facilitate "hostage rescue and capture of criminals, terrorists and other adversaries." (]

Israeli settlers, eh? Could the Palestinians be right? Could it really be that they are merely defending the Haram ash-Sharif from the Israeli Taliban, hell-bent on cleansing 'their' Temple Mount of its Islamic 'excrescences'? Well, if past performance is anything to go by, yes it could. Here is a timeline of Israeli provocations and outrages concerning the Haram ash-Sharif from The Jerusalem Question, ed Ali Kazak, 2003. Judge for yourself:

11/4/82: Israeli soldier and American Jew, Alan Goodman, accompanied by other Israelis, charges unprovoked into the Dome of the Rock, murdering the elderly caretaker then spraying worshippers with automatic fire. Two Palestinians are killed and over 60 wounded. While in the 1300-year-old mosque, they set fire to old and rare carpets and smash windows inscribed with fine Islamic artwork. Bullets are shot from 3 directions but only Goodman is charged with the crime.
15/1/88: Israeli police fire tear gas into Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, wounding over 40 worshippers.
8/10/90: Israeli border police kill 18 Palestinians and injure 150 more as Palestinians protest the intention of the extremist Gershon Solomon's 'Temple Mount Faithful' to enter the compound and place a cornerstone for the building of a 'third Jewish temple'.
29/3/94: Demonstrations break out in the Old City as a group of Israeli extremists led by Gershon Solomon stage a march through the Old City and rumours spread that they are going to enter the Haram ash-Sharif compound. Clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli police leave at least 5 Palestinians injured.
29/11/94: A group of religious settlers from the 'Alive & Well' group attempts to break into Haram ash-Sharif compound in order to make a provocation. The leader of the group, Yehuda Etzion, has in the past been involved with the terrorist Jewish underground and participated in the plan to blow up the Dome of the Rock for which he was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment. The mob seeks to re-establish the Kingdom of Israel and recapture the 'Temple Mount'. Ten members of the group are arrested.
4/5/95: Islamic Higher Council decides to close the Haram ash-Sharif compound to tourists until further notice after Jewish extremists try to enter the compound in order to conduct prayers.
6/8/95: Israeli settlers try to break into Al-Aqsa compound through Bab al-Qattaneen but are prevented by guards.
16/9/95: Muslim High Court releases a statement expressing fear that Israel, in connivance with radical settlers. is trying to take over the Haram ash-Sharif compound.
20/9/95: Despite tremendous local protest Israeli police chief Rubin allows 20 extremist settlers to enter Haram ash-Sharif compound protected by strong police force; the settlers announce that soon they will enter Al-Aqsa Mosque itself.
24/7/96: Israeli High Court passes a resolution allowing small groups of 'Temple Mount Faithful' to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on 25 July to perform 'Jewish religious rights for fast day'. PNA, Jordan and Syria protest. Tens of Jews immediately try to storm the mosque but are blocked by police.
25/7/96: Israeli police escort hundreds of 'Temple Mount Faithful' in pairs to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for prayers; they arrest 12 members of 'Hay Veqayam' who try to enter the site.
24/9/96: Under heavy police guard, Israel undertakes a surprise predawn excavation to complete a long archaeological tunnel that runs under Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The 12-year-old project was completed only on the personal orders of PM Netanyahu, who intended it as a message to Palestinians that Israel is the 'sole sovereign' in Jerusalem. PNA denounces the tunnel work and calls for a general strike the next day. During the day, Palestinians at the mosque clash with police.
27/9/96: PM Netanyahu deploys 6000 police throughout Israel, 4000 in East Jerusalem. After morning prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, several youths throw stones at Israeli troops and police surrounding the site. Israeli army storms the compound firing on Palestinians, killing 3 and wounding 50. Fighting erupts in Rafah, Tulkarem, Balata, Erez, Jenin and Ramallah. Israeli Arabs observe a general strike in support of their compatriots. A total of 52 Palestinians and 14 Israelis have been killed in clashes over the past 3 days since the tunnel was opened.
28/9/96: UN Security Council passes a resolution regarding the situation in the occupied territories and calls for the 'reversal of all acts which have resulted in the aggravation of the situation' ie the opening of the tunnel.
28/9/00: Likud party leader Ariel Sharon makes his provocative intrusion onto the Haram ash-Sharif compound accompanied by a large police contingent. Hundreds of Palestinians gathered from the early hours of the morning at the compound which houses the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque to protest Sharon's intrusion. After the provocation, Palestinians clash with police who were still present in their hundreds. This marks the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada.
29/9/00: During Friday prayers, the Israeli military enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in force. Israel claims the Palestinians were throwing stones from the courtyard that overlooks the Western Wall. Palestinians affirm that the prayers were not yet finished when the Israeli police entered the compound. Israeli troops open fire killing 7 Palestinian worshippers and injuring more than 200.

Or maybe our Palestinian rioters just couldn't help themselves?

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